Lot: 14

Chest ornament "akrafokonmu" ("soul washer's disk")

Ghana, Akan

Provenance Size Hammer price
German Private Collection D: ca. 5.1 inch 700 EUR

gold leaf over wood, base

In Akan thought, gold is considered an earthly counterpart to the sun and the physical manifestation of life's vital force, or "kra".

"Akrafokonmu" are worn as protective emblems by important members of the court, including royal attendants known as "akrafo", or "soul washers."

Individuals selected for this title are beautiful young men and women born on the same day of the week as the king. Worthy of serving the king in light of their youth and vigor, they ritually purify and replenish the king's vital powers and, in doing so, help to stabilize and protect the community.


Ross, Doran H., Gold of the Akan from the Glassell Collection, Houston 2002, p. 114